Hijiki is an alga that is eaten and harvested in Japan, Korea and China. Hijiki grows in stony areas by the sea. The Hijiki season is between March and April. Hijiki is black and consists of a long style from which small shoots grow. This stalk/shaft can become very long. It is called Naga Hijiki and is quite crispy when properly prepared. There are also Meh Hijiki, Kome Hijiki (translated this means "Riceshijiki" because of the optical similarity to rice) and Hime Hijiki (Prinzessinenhijiki). Hijiki contains many minerals (e.g. iron, calcium and magnesium) and a considerable amount of arsenic (which is actually dangerous, but non-toxic in small amounts). However, there are various laws and regulations regarding the permitted arsenic content in Hijiki. The algae is also said to balance the hormonal balance and lower the cholesterol level.
Hijiki as a side dish
Hijiki has a green-brown colour at harvest and is directly dried and then also sold dried. Before preparation, Hijiki is simply soaked in lukewarm water for 5 minutes and can then be used like fresh Hijiki. This is also how the Wakame algae is prepared. Hijiki is often eaten as a salad and supplemented with vegetables and other ingredients: carrot sticks, Agedashi (fried tofu) and Edamame (green soybeans) are common, but other vegetables also taste very good! The dressing usually consists of soy sauce and sugar. Hijiki is usually a side dish and not a main course.
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